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For commercial real estate - it's business as usual

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It seems that hardly a week goes by without news of some new credit calamity stressing the nation's financial institutions. At Torrey Pines Bank we have followed such stories with great interest. People are inferring that because of the residential foreclosure crisis, credit is becoming difficult to access, even in the commercial arena.

This notion is simply not the case. The economic climate is bright with opportunities for customers who have the financial sponsorship to leverage market conditions. Stable valuations and a falling interest rate environment make a compelling scenario for continued commercial development financing.

Torrey Pines Bank continues to aggressively market its ability and willingness to lend. We can respond to the market with an array of real estate credit products like construction loans, land acquisition and mini-perms including SBA 504 loans as well as non-real estate lending including equipment financing, term loans and lines of credit. We pride ourselves on our ability to get back to clients with a competitive loan commitment and to fund in a timely manner that meets their deadlines.

Since we started this bank in 2003, we've been active in all facets of real estate development -- including retail, office, industrial and residential product. With our flexible product offering and ability to provide financing solutions for small and large projects alike, we are clearly nurturing the growth of San Diego's real estate community.

We continue to establish new relationships with local entrepreneurs who require adequate capital to fund their vision. These relationships have helped us develop a $550 million loan portfolio with excellent credit quality. Our strategy has helped the bank avoid many of the pitfalls that have ensnared other institutions, including subprime mortgage origination and leveraged buyout financing.

Real estate development transactions are important to banks and the community. The continuance of the lending function will also be an impetus to helping the country respond to the credit crisis that many financial institutions seem to be grappling with right now.

While Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke suggested the Fed should use new measures to calculate risk, at Torrey Pines Bank we are applying the same measured standards we've adhered to since we organized in 2003. Now is as good time a time as ever to talk to Torrey Pines Bank -- and we'd love to hear from you.

Tips for real estate investors

¥ Look for seasoned bankers who have the expertise to understand real estate and investment cycles to help provide guidance in uncertain times.

¥ Understand your financial condition to ensure you are making sound financial decisions when determining how your loan will be structured.

¥ Work with well capitalized financial institutions, like Torrey Pines Bank, that can extend fair and competitive terms.

Submitted by Will McLennan, executive vice president and chief real estate officer at Torrey Pines Bank.

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